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Effects of Parental Notification Requirement for Abortions:

The other day I mentioned Jonathan Klick's paper on the effects of mandatory waiting periods for abortions.

Given the prominence of abortion in the news, I thought readers might be interested in another paper of his, co-authored with Thomas Stratmann, on the effects of parental notification laws before minors can get an abortion on "risky sex." They use an ingenious measurement for "risky sex." Here's the Abstract for "Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases":

Laws requiring minors to seek parental consent or to notify a parent prior to obtaining an abortion raise the cost of risky sex for teenagers. Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally, parental involvement laws should lead to less risky sex among teens, either because of a reduction of sexual activity altogether or because teens will be more fastidious in the use of birth control ex ante. Using gonorrhea rates among older women to control for unobserved heterogeneity across states, our results indicate that the enactment of parental involvement laws significantly reduces risky sexual activity among teenage girls. We estimate reductions in gonorrhea rates of 20 percent for Hispanics and 12 percent for whites. While we find a relatively small reduction in rates for black girls, it is not statistically significant. We speculate that the racial heterogeneity has to do with differences in family structure across races.

llamasex (mail) (www):
How much risk analysis do you think teenagers do before they screw? I mean hell, you can't hardly get kids to wrap a damn condom on, and the "risk analysis" for that would be 1000% more than the off chance they get knocked up and need an abortion.

Or we could take this to the extreme, how about requiring Hymen monitors, surely that would squash alot of premartial sex.
11.7.2005 5:23pm
rational actor (mail):
There appears to be a fatal flaw in this analysis, noted by the author himself:

"Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally"

Let's think about this. People, especially teenagers, can not be assumed to make rational choices about risky sex. Some do, most don't, and the need for parental consent to get an abortion will probably resonate primarily with those who are risk averse to begin with.
11.7.2005 5:26pm
M (mail):
"...Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally..." That's one of the best things I've read all week. Was it actually necessary to read beyond that point?
11.7.2005 5:26pm
Luis (mail) (www):
"Using gonorrhea rates among older women to control for unobserved heterogeneity across states..."

Huh? This is as bad as the last one. How you would actually measure this, if you were doing research insteads of records reviews, is (either longitudinally or cohort-cross-sectionally) administer self-report surveys to the population you wanted results for ... not go by another one of these worthless "proxies".
11.7.2005 5:32pm
Hoya:
Come on, you all. Assuming such decisions are made rationally, there would be a decrease; on the more realistic assumption that rationality affects teenage sex choices at the margin, there may be a nontrivial effect. And that's what the empirical part allegedly shows.
11.7.2005 5:33pm
Luis (mail) (www):
Oh, forgot to add that even the approach I suggest is far from perfect, but given HIPAA, it is at least doable.
11.7.2005 5:33pm
Swimmy:
Perhaps by "rationally" they mean "weighing the cost of obtaining information on the risks and the decreased pleasure and stress of risk-preventing behavior against the immediate satisfaction and (unknown) possibility of negative consequences." I'd say that immediate pleasure part outweighs everything else for most teenagers - stupid, but rational, given their, er, preferences.
11.7.2005 5:36pm
Zargon (mail):
With respect, I don't think knocking the bit about "...Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally..."is wholely fair. If you do, consider a hypothetical: putting aside all risks of pregnancy, disease, etc., assume the existance of a 100% effective method whereby parents could determine if their child had had 'risky sex'. Do you think this hypothetical method might modify some children's behaviour wrt 'risky sex'?

I think there are other problems with the study (disease vectors don't track pregnancy risk and are not evenly distributed through the population, for one glaring problem). Whether the application of the legal system to medical decisions is just is another, and even if one decides the answer is "yes", whether the uneven pressure of notification/consent across different families and cultures is the right policy mechanism is something to think about.
(For instance, a Scarlet Letter policy -- get an abortion, wear a red A on your clothing until you turn 21 -- might be more effective.)
11.7.2005 5:41pm
Bald Attorney:
This analysis of the article is laughable. The biggest mistake as pointed out above is that teens don't make sexual decisions rationally. Another problem is teens probably don't even know the relevant laws concerning parental notification in their state. What percentage of teens have this knowledge? 10%? 20%?
11.7.2005 5:44pm
frankcross (mail):
This study looks to me to be methodologically much sounder than the earlier one. It's theoretically reasonable, and the data appear to bear out the results. It's got no control variables besides adult gonorrhea rates, though, and I'd like to think about others that you'd want to have.

If you assume that "prudishness" is correlated with lower gonorrhea rates and increased parental consent laws, then such "prudishness" might really be the explanatory variable. The adult rate controls for this somewhat but not perfectly.
11.7.2005 5:47pm
anonymous coward:
Okay, people seem to be misunderstanding the paper. The "Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally..." bit is a hypothesis they attempt to test with data, not an assumption.

It's an interesting paper but, as with all these empirical studies from imperfect data, drawing firm conclusions is tough. For example, it's hard to know if teens are discouraged from having (unprotected) sex by the parental involvement laws, or by the social pressures that led to enactment of these laws in their state.
11.7.2005 5:52pm
just me (mail):
This reminds me of a line I laughed at in the USSC's opinion in Granholm v. Heald, re interstate wine shipping:

"Third, direct shipping is an imperfect avenue of obtaining alcohol for minors who, in the words of the past president of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators, " 'want instant gratification.' " Id., at 33, and n. 137 (explaining why minors rarely buy alcohol via the mail or the Internet)."

In our cite-happy world, I am glad that the USSC found a past pres of a group to SAY that teens want instant gratification. Otherwise, how would we know that's true?

Funnily enough, the very next sentence says

"Without concrete evidence that direct shipping
of wine is likely to increase alcohol consumption by minors, we are left with the States' unsupported assertions."

So the State's view -- that minors will buy online if they can get it cheap by clicking a button that says "yes, I'm 21" -- is UNSUPPORTED, while the opposing view is "supported" because some guy said so? I guess the State needed to have a competing bureaucrat to put it in a report first?

I think the instant-gratification point may be the stronger one, but not because that guy said so, no?

Of course, all this is off-topic, as teens may seek instant gratification re alcohol, but not re sex. No, never. Nope. Well, maybe sometimes. But rarely.
11.7.2005 5:54pm
Embarassment:
You guys are so freakin' pathetic it defies logic. My guess is that none of you ever hooked up as teens and therefore have imagined all sorts of bizarre, tribalist practices that go on among the cool kids. (First, they imbibe the alcohol. Then they smokum the pot! Then, they have reckless sex all night long!)

Teenagers may do a very bad job of weighing consequences and certainly express an exaggerated version of the UNIVERSAL human tendency to downplay future, uncertain costs so as to indulge in present, certain pleasures, but that doesn't mean they are irrational, which they certainly aren't. There is quite a bit of evidence that AIDS has changed sexual practices, even among teens, by increasing rates of oral sex while decreasing (or at least holding constant) rates of intercourse. Teens also avoid intercourse with people suspected of having veneral diseases (something that your "irrational creatures in heat" theory would not be able to explain).

That doesn't mean that this study is right or that it's measure of reckless sex is a good one. It just means you guys are lame.
11.7.2005 6:06pm
LittleJ (mail):
Another problem is teens probably don't even know the relevant laws concerning parental notification in their state. What percentage of teens have this knowledge? 10%? 20%?

This raises the possibility of close to 100% correlation between knowledge of parental notification laws and decrease in risky sex; time for another study.

Don't underestimate the teen ability to reason. Lack of an easy "out" and fear of discovery can be powerful motivators, especially given the (believe it or not) innate teen desire to please the parents.
11.7.2005 6:08pm
Leslie:
Does this guy account for the fact that birth control (except for condoms) eliminates most of the risk of pregnancy while having little or no effect against STD transmission. Why just gonorrhea when there's a whole bunch of other STD's? Why not use teen pregnancy rates? After all we're not interested in the rate of risky-STD-transmitting sex, we're interested in the rate of risky-baby-making sex. I think there might be some cherry-picking going on here...
11.7.2005 6:14pm
Christopher (mail):
I suggest a great compromise. No mandatory waiting periods for abortions, no mandatory waiting period for firearms. Who's with me?
11.7.2005 6:45pm
go vols (mail):
I see no problem in accepting some degree of rationality in the decision (which, I might add, doesn't always get better until we get older or married); though not, perhaps, in the heat of the moment (or your sixth beer). Otherwise, what would be the point in disseminating information about birth control and pregnancy? By the same token, I've read evidence that anti-smoking campaigns did, over time, decrease the level of teen smoking.

Still, the hypothesis that teens consider parental consent laws as a factor begs credulity. How many teenagers have even basic political knowledge? This theory could be tested easily enough--poll teenagers and ask them . I'd guess the numbers would be low--real low.

Also--does the study control for other factors that might vary across states? Factors that might better correlate with risky sexual behavior (broken homes, poverty, etc.)? Sorry to be lazy--got a little baby in the house.
11.7.2005 7:07pm
Cornellian (mail):
Assuming choices [by teenagers] to engage in risky sex are made rationally . . ..

Hahahahaha. Is he serious? Teenagers aren't rational about much of anything, least of all sex and if people were 100%, Vulcan style rational they'd never have sex at all.
11.7.2005 7:24pm
Been There, Done That:
If teenagers were perfectly rational about sex, they would competently use several methods of birth control, which would reduce the chances of needing an abortion to near zero while maintaining most or all of the benefits of sex.

Of course, this assumes that the subjects are willing to discount the value of spontenaiety (sp?). A rational actor might derive an amount of utility from "risky sex" that justifies his or her risk of disease, pregnancy, parental notification, and the like.

Perhaps the authors of this study just don't enjoy sex much, or at least, as much as the supposedly irrational teenager.
11.7.2005 7:31pm
Josh Jasper (mail):
You know, *actual* studies on STD reduction have been done. The Alan Gutmacher Institute has reams of them, conducted by heavily educated and peer-reviewed doctors, including epidemiologists who specialize in STDs. They disagree.

But please, by all means, take the word of people funded by James Buchannan *first*.

It always helps when people here do things like that. It shows that, depending on how distasteful the truth is, you'll take a comfortable lie that tells you what you want to hear instead.
11.7.2005 7:34pm
anonymouse:
---If teenagers were perfectly rational about sex, they would competently use several methods of birth control, which would reduce the chances of needing an abortion to near zero while maintaining most or all of the benefits of sex

Why? What's the added rationality in several forms of birth control, given the tradeoff? I mean, if it takes away 10% more pleasure, or takes 10% more time, or costs 10% more, and reduces the risk by 1 tenth of 1 percent above a single method, why is it rational to take the extra measures?

I think it's clear that adolescents weight the consequences of their actions, and attempt to behave rationally. Adolescents, however, seem to have bad prior probabilities on the likelihood of the outcomes, just as they tend to have bad prior probabilities on the severity of a bad outcome.

It's not irrational to make a mistake, if you reasoned that the utility of that mistaken choice was higher than other utilties.

But, given that adolescents have bad priors, giving them some concrete ones makes sense. That their parents' anger or disappointment or punishment can loom large enough in their lives to change their utility function calculation follows quite rationally, too.
11.7.2005 7:52pm
anonymouse:
---If teenagers were perfectly rational about sex, they would competently use several methods of birth control, which would reduce the chances of needing an abortion to near zero while maintaining most or all of the benefits of sex

Why? What's the added rationality in several forms of birth control, given the tradeoff? I mean, if it takes away 10% more pleasure, or takes 10% more time, or costs 10% more, and reduces the risk by 1 tenth of 1 percent above a single method, why is it rational to take the extra measures?

I think it's clear that adolescents weigh the consequences of their actions, and attempt to behave rationally. Adolescents, however, seem to have bad prior probabilities on the likelihood of the outcomes, just as they tend to have bad prior probabilities on the severity of a bad outcome.

It's not irrational to make a mistake, if you reasoned that the utility of that mistaken choice was higher than other utilties.

But, given that adolescents have bad priors, giving them some concrete ones makes sense. That their parents' anger or disappointment or punishment can loom large enough in their lives to change their utility function calculation follows quite rationally, too.
11.7.2005 7:53pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I think the premise of this study is repugnant. An unwanted teenage pregnancy carried to term creates an actual child, born to a mother who didn't want the child, and often an absent father. This is a terrible, life-ruining situation for mother and child alike.

You know, decreasing sexual activity among teens is not a horrible goal, but it isn't the end-all and be-all of social policy. Probably some men and women remained virgins longer or were less promiscuous before reliable methods of birth control were put on the market. But that's hardly an argument for banning contraception.

It is offensive to suggest that people should be threatened with being forced to bear babies they don't want in order to coerce them into living a more virtuous life. A baby is not an econmic incentive-- it is a living human being who will require 18 years of care, development, and supervision, and should not be used as a means to an end or a punishment for allegedly immoral behavior.
11.7.2005 7:53pm
Dilan Esper is Dumb:
You're right. That was the underlying premise of the study. Definitiveliciously so!

Maybe it was the underlying *goal* of those who published the paper, but it certainly wasn't a *premise* of the study that promiscuous teens shouldn't be allowed to abort their way out of their troubles. On balance, you may be right that we should let them do it -- it can be very empowering, especially for the boyfriend, I imagine -- but it strikes me that before we make any judgment on the policy we should know whether it has any benefits.

There are some obvious *undeniable* benefits, like making sure that promiscous teen girls have to reveal their promiscuity to their parents, thus enabling their parents (if they so desire) to be more repressive and prevent future "mistakes" from needing to be torn apart in the womb. Of course, if you believe that parents shouldn't be allowed to know how promiscuous their children are, then, I suppose, you think of this as a penalty, not a benefit. (Maybe we shouldn't let parents read report cards, or drug test results, or rap sheets, either?) Another benefit is that the parents of a knocked-up girl can bring pressure to bear on the parents of the young lothario responsible for her indelicate condition. Of course, that may have little to no effect (most parents may not care if their sons are out sowing oats), but I imagine in at least some cases those sons will be pressured to Do the Right Thing or at least to stop doing the wrong thing so much.

Finally, for some portion of girls, they will be persuaded to keep the baby and wind up being happy, and for some portion they will keep the baby and wind up unhappy and will demonstrate to all their potentially promiscuous (male and female) friends to possible repercussions of their indiscretions, since pregnancy is visible in a way that herpes, gonnorhea, and the like aren't.
11.7.2005 8:38pm
David Berke:
Apparently, at some point, while I wasn't watching, the definition of promiscuity changed.

Promiscuity, which used to mean something to the effect of "having casual sex with a lot of different people" now means "having sex without being married" or perhaps "having sex under the age of 18."

Everyone write this down, so that you don't misunderstand the meaning of "Dilan Esper is Dumb". I am certain that he was not attempting to mislead anyone or throw red herrings.
11.7.2005 9:04pm
Leslie:
"Of course, if you believe that parents shouldn't be allowed to know how promiscuous their children are..."

By your logic, parental notification would be required not only for abortion, but for STD testing &medication, birth control prescriptions, condom purchases, i.e. all that stuff that helps prevent teen pregnancies and abortions. If kids have to tell their parents about their sex life to get protection, they'll just go back to the classics: time method or pulling out.

"...and for some portion they will keep the baby and wind up unhappy and will demonstrate to all their potentially promiscuous (male and female) friends to possible repercussions of their indiscretions"

Among the sexually active, there may not be much connection between promiscuity and the likelihood of pregnancy. People in exclusive relationships tend to have more sex than people who have casual partners. An exclusive couple who stays together for 2 years will probably have sex several hundred times, while somebody with 20 casual partners in those same two years might only have sex 40 times. Who's more promiscuous? Who's more likely to get pregnant? If you believe pregnancy is meant to punish the promiscuous, then your punishment might very well not hit the "right" people.
11.7.2005 9:19pm
David Berke:
Other thoughts:

Why doesn't the argument that we should not let promiscuous teens (any teen who has sex) abort their way out of problems apply equally to adults?

Aren't the negative consequences of forced reporting worthy of being addressed? Some girls would be kicked out of their house. Some would be severely beaten, or perhaps even killed. Others would be forced to raise an unwanted child, with serious economic and social consequences to all parties involved. Why is that good?

If parental consent is required, does that mean that the parents can force the girl to have an abortion? If not, why not? In principle, the two are identical.

What happens when the parents disagree? Is the teenaged girl's self-determination suddenly restored? Does tie go to abortion or to no-abortion?

Why wouldn't it just be better to actually teach methods of birth control effective against VD?
11.7.2005 9:19pm
TL:
"A baby is not an econmic incentive-- it is a living human being who will require 18 years of care, development, and supervision"

And even if a results-oriented study, what's wrong with looking at numbers that would suggest ways to prevent many babies from being killed? Marginal revolutions are the ones sought in this arena. I.e., like a few less convenience abortions each year. Maybe these studies could inspire laws that will will someday inhibit women and men from living with the horror of abortion for their lives (which is something that can never be quantified).

PS-Clearly teenagers are rational to a degree commensurate with the opportunity cost of birth control, telling parents about the "consequences" of their actions, etc. Not including the cost of a parental notification law in this calculus, would be like attempting to argue that birth control is employed with a complete lack of cost-benefit. Who really likes to bag it, or see the Doc for expenive birth control as a matter of preference??
11.7.2005 9:27pm
guest (mail):
"Convenience abortions"

Because 9 months of pregnancy (whether or not followed by 18 years of child rearing) is merely "inconvenient".
11.7.2005 9:55pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that it is somewhat inaccurate to say that teenagers are not rational. They are. They just aren't as rational as they will (on averge) be in a couple of years. Recent studies have shown that judgement doesn't fully mature until your mid-twenties.

But you wouldn't have nearly as many teenagers working hard to get straight A's if they weren't at least somewhat rationale. Instead, they would all be drinking, doing drugs, and having sex. A lot do, but a lot still don't. And there are a lot in the middle.

You go back 60-70 years, and a much larger percentage of the women were going into marriage as virgins. I suspect that of my mother and her friends, who got married right after WWII, almost all were virgins, or at least close to it, right up into their early 20s, through high school and college. Sex was just not something that good girls did then before marriage.

Yes, that was then, and this is now. But why the difference? I will posit that sex drives are no higher now, nor the average rationallity any lower. Almost has to be that way, given the number of generations that would be required for any psysiological changes to occur in the population as a whole.

So, what I suggest must have been different is that the penalties for pre-maritial sex were a lot higher then, at least for the women. There was a lot of social pressure against it, and if they did get caught (usually meaning, getting pregnant), they usually could not look forward to a good husband. There were, in short, ruined goods.

I am not suggesting that we go back to that situation, but rather that this is (at least to me) fairly strong evidence that teenagers are relatively rational.
11.7.2005 10:21pm
Leslie:
I agree that teenagers are at least somewhat rational. Or at least that some are definitely more rational than others. And I think it's important to educate them about potential consequences of sex. But I don't think we should be trying to artificially raise the stakes of sex by taking away 1) information 2) birth control/std protection 3) abortion. I think the way things were before (see Bruce's post) sucked big time. I much prefer my life now to the way I imagine it might have been back then.
11.7.2005 10:31pm
trock:
I used to think that the people who read this blog were a highly educated lot of people. Apparently I was wrong. The attacks on this paper are completely off the mark, reveal how little knowledge of simple economtrics (i.e. simple linear regression) people have, and they also reveal that people simply haven't read the paper. Most of the concerns voiced in the comments are addressed in the paper. These comments are worth about as much as those who say Alito's opinions support a spousal consent requirement for abortion - read what you are attacking.
11.7.2005 11:12pm
Matt22191 (mail):
Josh,

I'm afraid you lost me. Are you claiming that there's something per se wrong with law &econ papers being funded by Nobel Prize-winning economists (or, rather, by academic entities associated with Nobel Prize-winning economists)?
11.8.2005 12:52am
CrazyTrain (mail):
Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally, parental involvement laws should lead to less risky sex among teens, either because of a reduction of sexual activity altogether or because teens will be more fastidious in the use of birth control ex ante.

Okay then. What little respect I had for TZ just whithered away by him commending us to this article.

11.8.2005 2:27am
Josh Jasper (mail):
Matt, would you accept a law paper written by a doctor?
11.8.2005 7:01am
Huggy (mail):
1)If it don't matter why are you whining about it?
2)Where are your arguments? All I read is snide remarks.
3)Can't we have a little outrage that the data seems to indicate that black families have little cohesion? Or is that a given to "progressives"? (my snide remark)
11.8.2005 7:52am
go vols (mail):
OK. Now having read the paper, I still question the causal mechanism, which requires that teens are aware of parental consent laws in their state. That's quite different from knowing whether abortion is legal or not, a far more plausible incentive for behavior. Moreover, this proposition would be relatively easy to test. Without this piece of information, even if the authors controlled for state effects, I'm inclined to see it as a spurious correlation.
11.8.2005 8:05am
MDJD2B (mail):
This is an interesting study, and most of the criticism misses the point. There is an empirical observation that parental notification before abortion (PNBA) decreases the rate of diagnosis of gonorrhea. This suggests that PNBA decreases unprotected sex among teens. Comments implying that teens do not engage in Socratic dialogs do not refute this. Rational behavior does not imply that the actor exercised formal reasoning exercises to decide what behavior to engage in. The only appropriate refutation for empirical findings is refutation of the methodology. Speculation regarding the mental state of the actors is beside the point.

There may, however, be other explanations for the findings. (Parenthetically, the standard test for gonorrhea measures it and Chlamydia with high sensitivety and specificity). For example, could PNBA drive high-risk Hispanics and whites out of the health care system, leaving the a lower risk pool of young womento be tested?

BTW, the decrease in gonorrhea was only 12% in whites and 20% in Hispanics, suggesting that the majority are as "irrational" as some of the other commentors would have us believe teens are. Any effect of PNBA on sexual behavior is relatively small, again assuming that the incidence of gonorrhea is a valid proxy for unprotetected sexual intercourse.
11.8.2005 9:52am
frankcross (mail):
Many of the responses to this study, from liberals I presume, are so unthinking and unscientific as to make creationists look good.

This research is interesting and plausible. The real concern is the lack of control variables (authors say they have considered some of them, but we don't know which ones or their effects). I'm sure there's plenty of preexisting research on gonorrhea incidence. A quick google showed various studies on its determinants, e.g., alcohol availability. I'd want to see controls for the other established determinants of the disease.
11.8.2005 9:59am
Matt22191 (mail):
Josh,

I certainly wouldn't reject it out of hand. Nothing prevents doctors -- or lots of other smart people -- who aren't lawyers from writing intelligently about the law. (Several members of my law school faculty did not have law degrees.) And nothing prevents lots of smart people who aren't doctors from writing intelligently about public policy issues that somehow involve the human body. There certainly are subjects that are so highly technical that writing anything meaningful about them probably demands a medical degree. This isn't one of those subjects. Klick and Stratmann may be off-base, but the fact that they're economists[1] is not in itself a reason to reject their conclusions.


[1] Klick is also a J.D.
11.8.2005 11:31am
Lab:
So abortion prohibition really is about controlling sexual behavior.
11.8.2005 12:33pm
Josh Jasper (mail):
Of course. If it were about reducing abortions, we'd have better access to birth control, and a society that encourages it's use.
11.8.2005 12:45pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
So abortion prohibition really is about controlling sexual behavior.

Yes, in fact it clearly is. The same people who vehemently oppose abortion, also oppose birth control, premarital sex, sex eduction, etc. If they cared so much about life, they wouldn't be the biggest supporters of this war, and of the George W. Bush, whose philosophy as governor of Texas was err on the side of death when it came to the criminal justice system. (And please do not argue against me by creating the straw-man that I equate abortion with the death penalty. I think one could be perfectly intellectually consistent by being against abortion and for the death penalty. My point is that W's behavior in Texas re death penalties did not reflect the behavior of someone who gave a shit about "innocent life.")

11.8.2005 12:55pm
TL:
Ok Greedy,
Here is my argument against your point of view.

It is a word puzzle:

Texas re death penalties
innocent life
cared so much about life--biggest supporters of this war
innocent life

*My only caveat is that there actually are a material number of "innocents" killed in Iraq (1 a : free from guilt or sin especially through lack of knowledge of evil). Most of them are unfortunately US soldiers.*
11.8.2005 1:40pm
David Berke:
Those who have attacked various criticisms may wish to consider whether those criticisms were aimed specifically at the paper, or instead, specific posts.
11.8.2005 2:07pm
labrat:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051108/ap_on_he_me/std_cases

Apparently gonorrhea rates are falling throughout the country on their own. Have the authors controlled for this nationwide decline? What are the rates for the other STDs (of which, chlamydia and syphillis are on the increase, according to the AP article) comparing these two groups of teenagers? What about pregnancy rates? Isn't that the real predictor of the efficacy of these laws? It would be nice to have a link to the entire paper as opposed to just the abstract.
11.8.2005 2:15pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> If parental consent is required, does that mean that the parents can force the girl to have an abortion? If not, why not? In principle, the two are identical.

No, they're not, but thanks for playing.

FWIW, I'm pro-abortion, but often embarrassed by my co-believers.
11.8.2005 2:21pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Everything happens on the margin. If parental notification laws are in place, it is safe to assume that some percentage of teenagers will be aware of them. Of those, some percentage will take them into account in choosing whether to defer sex, or at least use contraception.
11.8.2005 4:14pm
Zephyr:
llamasex: "...how about requiring Hymen monitors, surely that would squash alot of premartial sex."

Until we have "ink dippers" for penises, let's not go there.

Fact is our current society has developed an economic system that impoverishes our youth should they progenerate according to nature's time table as opposed to an education-economic value system. The time it takes to acquire an "education" suitable to establish the "desired" childrearing environment exceeds the biological clock on average 10-15 years.

Ironically, in attempting to "improve" our lives we have sacrificed the reproductive balance of human nature. By that same logic, we created the society that does not want teens to reproduce, therefore we must allow them the "choice" safe non-reproductive methods. It does not matter how we harp about "teens", go back when "morals" were in and an unmarried woman at age 20 was a spinster.

I find it absolute nonsense to think notifying the parents will, as some people hope, prevent abortion/teen sex. Forcing teens to have children on moral grounds does not punish the teen, it punishes the child. I have personally met too many adults who are "dysfunctional" because their parents "kept" them but never "wanted" them.
11.8.2005 7:13pm